Cancer is a devastating illness that, left untreated, may result in death. With a timely diagnosis, there are a wide variety of available treatments that can give New Jersey patients a ray of hope for the future. Sadly, one family was recently awarded $6 million for a loved one's death that was ultimately caused by his doctor's failure to diagnose cancer.
The victim first sought medical care in Dec. 2007 when blood began to appear in his stool. He was already familiar with what this symptom might indicate as he had already lost an uncle to colon cancer. His doctor decided to perform a colonoscopy, which he also recorded in order to use it as an educational tool. Ultimately, the bleeding was blamed on hemorrhoids, and the patient was told that he was fine.
In 2009, the patient was back in the hospital with severe pain. Emergency room doctors determined that he had some type of mass located inside his liver. A few days later, a second colonoscopy was performed, and it was discovered that he did indeed have colon cancer. The mass in his liver was also cancerous, and it had spread from his colon. Despite undergoing multiple surgeries and chemotherapy, he ultimately succumbed to his cancer two years later.
His family later filed a medical malpractice claim on his behalf, claiming that the doctor who had performed the initial colonoscopy was negligent in his failure to diagnose cancer. While many medical malpractice suits that are filed in New Jersey can be settled outside of the courtroom, it is sometimes necessary to move forward with trial proceedings in order to achieve just legal recourse for seriously negligent acts. If successfully navigated to completion, a jury can award monetary reparations to the victim or his or her family.
Source: nj.com, "Family of dead man wins $6M verdict against doctor, attorney says", Bill Wichert, Oct. 19, 2015